Thursday, August 30, 2007

the 3rd dimension

i remember when i first moved to the city i was blown away at how flat it was. it just goes on and on, like a crusting lichen. i think, however, that most of that impression comes from the face that the city is predominately a 2D space. we move on the plane and only rarely are able to break the surface tension and venture upwards or downwards and if we do it is at great cost of machinery, ropes, engines, that take us to very specific destinations. the 3rd dimension in cities is ruled by design. now imagine if we could move upwards along surfaces with the same ease as we can move horizontally down the sidewalk. imagine the incredible dimensions that would open up in the urban surface, the security implications alone are staggering not to mention entire new tracts of space for vendors, graffiti artists, homeless people, signature gatherers, advertisers, and gardeners. well... this reality is very close. a team of researchers in italy have just published technical plans for building a "spiderman suit" utilizing a system of branching nanotubes to duplicate the adhesive vanDerWahl forces found in the extraordinary sticky feet of the gecko. such branching nanotubes have already been made, and indeed can be made easily. thus... only a few years until we see a suit covered with these tubes that can literally stick us to any surface, wall or ceiling. next we can affix temporary shelters, hammocks, tents, nanotube nets, to freeway pylons, bridge supports, skyscraper facades, and really start using all this space.

1 comment:

John Pearson said...

very keen observation. i have so much trouble remembering to use level change as a design tool. i am constantly writing it down on my sketches for studio projects because i am so predisposed to creating flat landscapes.